February 19, 2001

Busy, but Nice

As threatened, last night's snow fall petered out in the early evening, but it left 11 new cm up on the hill before it did so. By this season's standard that was a veritable dump and with Fernie's fabled 20 cm rule now devalued to 10 or less, there were probably a few additional locals up on the hill adding to the continuing holiday (Alberta and US) weekend and Saskatchewan school break folks. Indeed it was quite busy, but by judicious lift selections we only got trapped in a couple of five minute plus waits. On the other hand by about 9:30 this morning you had to dip pretty deep to find anything but chopped snow.

Even chopped, the snow was quite good and while a little heavy for real powder, at this point it made a fine proxy. Of course 11 cm is not exactly bottomless and in places the harder stuff underneath made it self felt. Guessing what would be firm and what would be soft also added interest. The pebbles were in retreat again, but certainly not defeated and somewhere in the day my skiing companion acquired a reminder of the minimal base in the form of a rather nasty gouge in his base.

On a run down Cornice Chute around noon I was surprised to find that the sun was already transforming the snow into spring like sticky balls. It was reminiscent of skiing following new snow in the spring, but it still skied well, at least if you have a taste for heavy snow. It was also quite warm and spring like at the house this afternoon and while I suppose we are moving into the time of stronger sun and melting snow, we certainly need a lot more snow to sustain many hot spring like days.

Still despite the crowds and the minor deficiencies, it was a very good day of skiing and certainly one of the better ones this season.

At quarter to five there are still puddles on my driveway, but the temperature has dropped below freezing under the mainly clear sky.

What delights and traps live in here Mr. Griz? This part of the Window Chutes looks tranquil and pretty gentle. Looks can be deceiving.

On the other hand I don't tend to think of Sunnyside as all that steep, but in this image taken from near Dancer, it looks more imposing than in most pictures.

Bear Chutes alderfest.

This spot on the traverse across the Currie Chutes is just before the lower saddle and an excellent place to lose a little vertical before continuing unless you have a real thing for the fumes of burning P-Tex.

Sun crud in the making on the Cornice Chute (I think)...

at least it (the previous picture) was taken somewhere in the middle of this slope.